03 September 2015

5 Takeaways from China’s Military Parade

Chun Han Wong, “5 Takeaways from China’s Military Parade,” China Real Time Report (中国实时报), Wall Street Journal, 3 September 2015. 

1. Leaner, Meaner

Holding a military parade for an event China hasn’t typically commemorated could easily be read by China’s neighbors as another in a series of unsettling provocations. President Xi Jinping took some of the edge off the display by announcing a reduction in the armed forces of 300,000 troops. Foreign military experts estimate that the Chinese military has 2.3 million active-duty personnel. Reductions in numbers, the experts say, would allow China to redirect spending to weapons systems, training and the navy, and away from the army.

2. Missile Gap 

Thursday’s parade allowed China to showcase its increasingly potent ballistic-missile arsenal, a signal of Beijing’s growing ability to counter the U.S.’s still-superior military might. Dominating the show were the Dongfeng series. The DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile—touted as a threat to U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups—made its public debut, as did the D-26 ballistic missile, China’s first missile capable of striking Guam with a conventional warhead from a launcher on the mainland. …

For analyses cited here, see: 

Andrew S. Erickson, “Sweeping Change in China’s Military: Xi’s PLA Restructuring,”China Real Time Report (中国实时报), Wall Street Journal, 2 September 2015.

Andrew S. Erickson, “Missile March: China Parade Projects Patriotism at Home, Aims for Awe Abroad,” China Real Time Report (中国实时报), Wall Street Journal, 3 September 2015.

China Military Parade—3 September 2015—Your Complete Hardware & Logistics Guide (Updated Version)